Member’s motor – Chris Sherrington’s T5

We bought our T5 a couple of years ago and it was an accidental purchase; we went to look at it and ended up putting down a deposit and going back with the full amount a day later when the bank opened.

I’ve always loved camping; from camping in tents when I was younger and my mum’s caravan during my teens, but as I have been getting a little older, tents have become less appealing. I’d seen a few of my friends with campervans and these looked more appealing than a normal motorhome.

I spotted my van for sale and I was drawn in with the colour of it, which is a Mercedes green. I arrived to view it and was shown around it; it was and still is basic inside, but it had all the work done on the engine for the low miles it had done. It had also been remapped from the 104bhp to around 140bhp and the torque improved. I test drove it and it was extremely nippy.

It was my first van so I had a look around it, kicked the tyres and listened for any untoward noises; it all sounded well. The van had 4 new tyres, everything to complete the conversion inside and all the main jobs which I couldn’t tackle myself had been done.

was hooked. As soon as we got the van home we got to work on it, fitting a reversing camera, sink, hob, fridge, extra sockets and USB ports to charge our various devices. I upgraded the leisure battery to twin batteries; the fuse had blown on the split charge system so I changed and upgraded that also. We have also fitted a solar panel on the roof and have got a small generator so we can be off grid and remain “powered”.

The family are power hungry with tablets etc so this was the only trade off to get them camping, along with the Wi-Fi I got for the van (don’t worry this can be turned off to make people talk to each other and play with all the outdoor games we have). The extra power and sockets also helped with the massive cool box and fridge we take with us. Fitting all of these extras was time consuming but has been a wise choice, if we are careful we can last for approx 3 night’s with lights, fridge, TV and about 15 people charging their phones etc throughout the weekend. The generator tops us up when there’s no sunlight, which lasts about 4 to 6 hours on a tank.

We went on our first camping trip and decided we needed an awning. I obtained an awning rail from a local caravan shop and we bought an inflatable awning for ease, this meant we can have 2 kids in the roof of the van and 2 others in the awning if needed and 2 adults on the R&R bed along with 2 dogs! It can be a bit of a squeeze at times but it adds to the fun.

With the extra camping equipment we kept buying we needed a trailer to transport everything. I always liked the idea of something different so decided on a VW trailer. I found a Mk4 Golf that was already partly finished as a trailer and got a relative to finish the job off for me as he owns a metal works company. The rear lights work as they should and the rear seats are still in the trailer. The front of the trailer is the actual bonnet from the front of the car. I had it sprayed to match the van’s colour scheme and then loaded it with all our stuff that we take camping. It’s towed easily and most of the time you forget it’s there.

We now seem to take more stuff with us because of the extra storage space the trailer provides. Ideally, I’d like to convert the trailer for sleeping, but don’t know where to start… maybe something like a pod of some kind.

We’ve been away every other weekend throughout the year as I work shifts, so try and get away as much as possible. We’ve been to France, several VW events and various campsites throughout the UK. We don’t go away as much in the colder months but if you see us around give us a wave, or come for a drink and a warm up around the fire with us, you can see us lighting the skies green at night or playing games during the day.

 

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About Nick Gillott

Website Manager and General Committee member of the Owners Club. Owner of Eric the Viking (converted panel van with Viking roof) undergoing complete restoration. Tinkerer to Poppy the camper van (1972 Crossover dormobile).